Thursday, April 24, 2014

Why I'm Second Guessing Digital Downloads

The technological advancements we've made in TV, movie and video game delivery is astounding. I remember growing when CDs and DVDs were starting to become the standards for how content was delivered. "What will they think of next?" The answer, was delivering the content on literally nothing. We pull this stuff out of thin air these days, and I love it. I am a huge advocate for digital downloading, and I am convinced it is the future. However, this one colossal downside is ruing everything for me...

Many devices are capable of streaming and downloading content. For this particular blog, I'm going to pick on  the Nintendo 3DS eShop. I do understand that this applies to any downloadable purchases, but video games in particular suffer the most. Here's why...

In the case of the 3DS, digital downloads have the benefit of only being available to purchase from one place... The Nintendo eShop. Since I'm forced to buy any and all digital games from this store, they get to charge me full retail. Today, I'm after the game Mario Tennis Open, which is available for a few different prices. For $39.99, I can download this title straight to my console. I don't pay taxes on it, it saves me hassle of having another cartridge to pull in and out of the system, and I even bought myself a 30gb SD card just for the purpose of downloading lots of games.

Out of curiosity, I made the mistake of searching Amazon for the same title. Their price for Mario Tennis Open is a bit more reasonable. The game is on sale for $22.29, which is almost an $18 savings. Now let's say shipping ends up being a couple of extra dollars, I still save about 15 bucks at the end. The downside is of course, having a cartridge, and having to wait about a week for it to arrive. Is an extra $15 worth the convenience?

I always ask myself this question before buying any hard copy of a game I could otherwise download online. Usually, the savings is small, and I don't mind spending the extra cash to download it. In fact, after shipping costs, I usually end up spending the same amount anyway. Time to weight my options...

A. I could spend the 40 bucks and have it right now,
B. I could spend the 25-ish bucks and have it in a week, 
C. I could wait until the retail price goes down in 6 months or so,
or D. I could just play another game entirely. 

In the end, I usually go with option A or D. Apparently, I do think the $15 convenience charge is fair amount, or I have enough games and don't necessarily need this one right now. Since I do own an older version of this game on my dusty N64, I've decided to use that to scratch my itch for the time being. (Do you even Mario Tennis, bro? Well you should! It's the tits.)

For all the other gamers out there, I have a poll just for you! Disregard the fact that it's Mario Tennis for a second... All the new consoles offer digital downloading options. Have you had a similar experience with a game purchase lately? If so, which option would you have chose if you were in my shoes?